Dealing with Confidence and Bad Runs

It happens to all of us, the run that is no fun and difficult from the very beginning.

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I felt like crap, but am loving the look of my Under Armour Monza’s!

You tell yourself you just need to warm up, but two miles later you still feel like it’s pure torture. You can’t find your groove, everything seems labored and more difficult, and you just don’t want to be there.

I had one of those lovely runs yesterday morning. It was a GORGEOUS cool morning, and I hadn’t run a long run in three weeks. I had been resting due to illness, and thought I would run a great eight miler since I had been resting for so long. Well, for some reason my “great 8 miler” turned into a “yucky, slow, and depressing 6 miler”.


My “that was a yucky run” face. Oh yes.

What went wrong? I have ZERO idea. Well, not entirely true, I have been switching up my eating, but I still don’t think that warrants such a bad run. I just felt in a funk and wanted to be done and got really mad at myself.

Why do we do this? Even though I KNOW every run isn’t a good one, and that one bad run doesn’t mean anything/that I am a terrible person who will never have a good race ever, it doesn’t seem to stop these thoughts and doubts from creeping into my mind. I left my run feeling very down on myself with little confidence in my abilities.


This one is titled “How did THAT happen? Ug”.

What do you do when you have a confidence breaking bad run? What if it lasts a couple weeks? (I fear I may be in a burn out/funk over here!) I have a half marathon in six days, and then Dopey training (OMG yikes) and need to snap out of this!! Aaaahhhh!

QOTD: What do you do to get over a bad run or get out of a running funk?

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  1. I always remind myself that we need the bad runs to appreciate the good ones. I hope your next run is great so you feel better about yourself! 🙂

  2. get new gear to keep you motivated, and work on visualizing the finish! you got this!

  3. Bridie Rist says:

    So it’s not just me? I can only do long runs on the weekends and Saturday’s run was awful. I ended it early and just felt crummy about it the rest of the weekend. Not sure why I beat myself up about it. But, thanks for sharing your experience so I know I’m not alone. Hope your next run is reinvigorating.

  4. Both Christine and have talked about this at length. There are always bad runs, and the biggest thing is to get back out there so you can have a good one. Food can play a factor as well as being tired. I hate the bad training runs, but know they are making me stronger and helping me reach my next race goal.

  5. I move on and put that run out of my mind. We all have bad days… it doesn’t mean anything! Keep your eye on your upcoming race and put the past in the past.

  6. Just go out and run. Don’t put a mileage requirement on yourself. Don’t look at your Garmin/watch, etc. Just run and enjoy yourself. Remember why you started running in the first place, and the great feeling you get when you are out there. Smile, too. That always helps me on a run. You will get it back. I really enjoy reading your blog, by they way. You are very inspirational!

  7. I think as a runner you have to remember that there will be amazing epic runs where it feels so easy and wonderful, and other runs where every moment is a struggle. It’s part of the journey of running. I think that clicked most for me when I heard others saying the same thing. For so long, I thought it was just me, and just an indication that I wasn’t a “real runner” or “athlete.” But truthfully, everyone goes through it. Hang in there!

  8. Its often hard to remember that we will always have good days and bad days with our running, but the bad days help us to find greater appreciation in the good days. I find it difficult to remember this myself, but just know that you’re not the only one who goes through this. Hold your head high, and I’m sure Mickey and his magic will help you get to the finish line next weekend. 🙂

  9. for me it is weights—and weak lifts.
    It has taken me almost twenty years but I now view it like my writing.
    EACH NO (crappy lift) BRINGS ME THAT MUCH CLOSER TO A YES (a rockstar lift!)

  10. You’ve been sick, and as much as we humans don’t want to admit it, the body needs time to bounce back. I think you made a good decision to do 6 instead of 8, and next time, you’ll have a much better run.

  11. Must have been something in the air. I struggled on my run this weekend as well.
    Just remember you learn and grow from the bad runs as well.

  12. Oh yes I’ve had these type of runs. It makes you feel like you can’t do it. There are days when I feel like I could run a marathon…and then days where 3 miles is torture! I just try to remember that the bad runs make the good ones so much sweeter!

  13. I just had a run like this on Saturday! I was going to do a simple 10K just so I could have a “longer” run before W&D and it was horrible! So horrible I ended up doing 5K instead. I have to idea how to get over a bad run or a running funk, but let me know if you figure it out! Maybe the idea that you’re not alone will help :/

  14. I don’t have any deep or meaningful tips over than – I just keep going. The next run will probably be better. If not, then the one after that. Every run can’t be great, but not every run will be bad either. You just got to stick with it!

  15. If I’m in a running funk I will run with a buddy, go somewhere with nice scenery to run, buy a fun new running item, or forget it altogether for a few days and go to a really hard workout class 🙂

  16. I have this sometimes….and it does make me doubt myself. I’ve run a couple of 10Ks, and enjoyed them, and then there are the runs where I’m already struggling before mile 2, and I can’t seem to stop thinking “how will I ever make it to a half marathon if I can’t even handle a couple of miles?” And even though I know it’s not normally a problem for me, I start fretting that one of those “bad run” days will be my next race, or an important race to me.

    It’s especially like a kick to the teeth when you’re excited to be out running and about to go longer than you ever have and you can’t wait to see what your body can do…and then you end up seeing what your body can’t do. 🙁

  17. I think if a bad run happens due to burn out then it’s best to take a little time away from running to explore something else like biking or swimming and to keep any runs short.

    If a bad run happens because of other reasons, the best thing is to get back up on the horse and go for another run! 🙂 Wipe out the bad run and replace it with a good, strong, fun one! It may be best to set your mind to doing a short run – maybe 3 miles or less and then just keep going if it feels good!

  18. I had this happen on Saturday too. 4 miles should not have been hard, much less the torture that they turned out to be. I’d been thinking the same thing – what if this continues? I usually goes away but I get nervous every time I have one of these runs.

  19. When I have a bad run I allow myself to just do what feels good the next time so I can get back in a groove. The reality is that you’ve been sick so you’re body may not have quite been ready even though your mind was. So in those cases, I take the pressure off and just have fun. Maybe run a few fartleks with the emphasis on the PLAY part of it and less on the SPEED part. 🙂

  20. Sorry you had a rough run, friend. I know things will get better next time! You are going to have so much fun at Wine and Dine!!

  21. I know how you feel, Heather. I stop the thoughts & try to put it into perspective. I’ll find someone to talk to who will help remind me to be grateful – if we’re out there running at all we are so blessed in the first place. Blessed to be physically able to run (no matter how slow), blessed to have the time to run, blessed to have few enough major worries in life to be able to run. Finally, I remember that I run for the love of it & no goal is worth me tearing myself down. 🙂

  22. Seems like every run for me recently has been a bad run. I’m dealing with some foot pain & can’t seem to get my mileage up. I’m a fairly new runner & have been focusing on my running without even considering my diet. I really need to do that but not sure where to start. The fact that the PHM is in 3 months is starting to scare me since it will be my first half. Ahhh… the stress!

Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. Dealing with Confidence and Bad Runs

    It happens to all of us, the run that is no fun and difficult from the very beginning. I felt like crap